The Planetary LightSail 2 will boost its Interplanetary Missions. According to NASA, the spacecraft will be tested and will serve as the spacecraft for future missions. The spacecraft is set to launch on June 13 this year from the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida. The launch will also use the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
The ultimate destination of the spacecraft will be the Earth’s orbit of about 450 miles which solely double the altitude of the ISS. The ultimate goal of this mission is to test the flight. Scientist aims to sail in space with the help of the photons from the sun in order for the spacecraft to move around. One of the best benefits of this mission is that spacecraft does not need to bring fuel on it. In every space mission, every gram of weight matters.
Scientists are trying to control the solar sailing through pushing of the sunlight. The LightSail 2 which was set to launch no earlier than June 13, will soon be visible to all observers. During the launch of the LightSail 1 last May 20, 2015, the spacecraft survived for a month on the Earth’s orbit. The mission also met almost all of its major objectives such as the test flight and deploying the sail. Although the mission almost met all of its objectives, there is still some problem arose.
According to Betts, they learned a lot from the launch of the LightSail 1 and it taught them a lot about their spacecraft. After all the various issues of the LightSail 1, they have made a lot of major improvements to their latest LightSail 2. Most of the key improvements made for the spacecraft is meant to make it more robust. In case of trouble, they will reboot the entire system and the system will restart the process.
More of the information will be made to give the controllers about the health status of the spacecraft. Engineers of the spacecraft also added some reflectors to enable the LightSail 2 easy to track while on the ground. There are couples of spacecraft that are successfully tested out on space. One of the crafts that were successfully tested is the Japanese Ikaros which successfully traveled with the use of a solar sail. In 2012, it received an award as the first solar-sailing mission and a spacecraft to sail between planets.